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Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile - Storm Shadow

Storm Shadow (also known as Conventionally-Armed Stand-Off Missile or CASOM)

Storm Shadow (also known as Conventionally-Armed Stand-Off Missile or CASOM) is a long-range, air-launched, stand-off attack missile that will allow the RAF to attack high-priority targets deep inside enemy territory without exposing the launch aircraft to high-intensity enemy air defences. 

The missile is the BAe version (with some UK enhancements) of the French Matra APACHE/SCALP missile and entered service in late 2002.

It is already in-service on the Tornado GR4 and Harrier GR7/GR9 and will be carried by the Typhoon. The RAF is believed to have purchased an initial batch of 500 missiles. The programme cost is some £980m. 

Storm Shadow was deployed operationally and fired with tremendous success during the 2003 Iraq War.


STORM SHADOW Specifications
Length 5.1m
Diameter 0.48m
Span 2.84m
Weight  1,300kg
Propulsion TRI 60-30 Turbofan
Range Estimate 350km
Guidance Navigation using (TERrain PROfile Matching) system as well as GPS, Terminal guidance using imaging infra-red sensor, Autonomous target recognition algorithms, BROACH warhead.

STORM SHADOW - Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM)

Following an international competition involving six companies, Matra BAe Dynamics UK (MBD) Storm Shadow weapons system was selected to meet the RAF’s Staff Requirement for a Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM). The contract was placed with MBD in February 1997.  

MBD’s  Storm Shadow system is based on the proven technology used in the French Apache anti-runway missile. Storm Shadow is an air-launched, conventionally-armed, long-range, stand-off, precision weapon, which is deployable at night or day, in most weather and operational conditions. It is being developed to attack and destroy a wide spectrum of static, high value targets as listed below: 

Command Control and Communications facilities

  • Airfield facilities

  • Port facilities

  • ASM/ammo storage

  • Ships/submarines in port

  • Bridges.

Storm Shadow will be integrated onto Tornado GR4/4A and Typhoon. It will be capable of employment in all theatres of conflict, and the warhead is optimised for use against hardened targets.

The Storm Shadow missile requirement embodies the following key features:

  • Very long range

  • Fire and forget, with fully autonomous guidance

  • Low level terrain following

  • Stealth design

  • Effective penetrator warhead

  • High reliability

  • All up round [ensures high system readiness]

  • Low cost of ownership


The Storm Shadow weapon system comprises:

  • The operational missile and its All Up Round Container (AURC)

  • Mission Planning Infrastructure

  • Data Programming System

  • The Ground/Air Training missile (GATM) and its AURC


The Storm Shadow missile is derived from the Apache Anti Runway missile. Key elements of this proven technology have been retained for Storm Shadow, but the following major modifications are being introduced to meet the particular Storm Shadow requirements:

  • New guidance and navigation based on TERPROM [TERrain PROfile Matching] terrain navigation with an integrated GPS

  • Terminal guidance using imaging infra-red sensor and autonomous target recognition system

  • The high lethality of the system is achieved by the use of a BROACH [Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge] unitary warhead.

  • The missile weighs approximately 1,300 kilograms and is just over five metres long. Its maximum diameter is under one metre, and with its wings deployed, under three metres.


The first phase of the mission planning regime ensures that the missile navigates to the target with maximum survivability and then enters a robust target acquisition and terminal guidance phase. For complex and pre-determined missions, much of this data would have been pre-prepared earlier at the Command Headquarters. Following an Air Tasking Order, the Squadron would prepare the mission data file with the pre-planned data, together with the latest operational intelligence.


On approaching the terminal phase, the missile will initiate a bunt manoeuvre, pre-selected during mission planning, to obtain the best combination of acquisition probability and lethality against the target. As the missile climbs, it will jettison its nose cover, thereby enabling the missile high resolution imaging infra-red sensor to view the target area ahead.
The missile’s image processor will compare the actual image features with a reference set of features, determined during mission planning. When a feature match is achieved the target will be acquired and the required aim point selection tracked and used as the reference for the missile terminal guidance.

As the missile closes in on the target the acquisition process will be repeated with a higher resolution data set to refine the aim point. Tracking will continue against this refined aim point until the precise target location is identified.


When engaging hard targets, such as Hardened Aircraft Shelters or bunkers, the missile will strike the target at the estimated optimum dive angle, selected during mission planning. On impact the detonation sequence commences. The precursor charge will perforate the target structure, and any soil covering, and the follow through penetrator warhead will continue to penetrate inside the target to be detonated after a pre-selectable fuse delay. 

Should the mission be against a target with potential high collateral damage, the mission will be aborted if the target identification and acquisition process is unsuccessful. In this case the missile will fly to a predetermined crash site.


The programme value is for £981 million.


Major milestones were:

  • Air carriage clearance - Early 2000

  • First guided firing - December 2000

  • Design freeze - Early 2002

  • In Service Date - Late 2002


The contract for the development and production of Storm Shadow was placed with Matra BAe Dynamics (UK) Ltd in February 1997 after a competitive tender exercise. This was one of the first contracts to be placed with this contractor. Matra BAe Dynamics (UK) Ltd is a subsidiary of Matra BAe Dynamics SAS, a company jointly owned by BAe plc and Lagardere SCA.

Matra BAe Dynamics (France) Ltd has won the SCALP EG contract from the French Government. SCALP EG is the same weapon as Storm Shadow apart from national aspects related to both countries.

The two parts of Matra BAe Dynamics act as separate Prime Contractors and hold the individual Storm Shadow and SCALP EG contracts for their respective national Governments.

This has resulted in an industry collaborative programme that has undertaken certain aspects of the work normally handled by both Governments, such as the harmonisation of national requirements and the merging of national procurement methods. These aspects are exclusively carried out by Matra BAe Dynamics by a fully integrated French and UK management and engineering team. The two similar, but not identical, Government technical requirements have been fully harmonised into a single common technical solution.

This common solution is shared by the subcontractors who only have a single subcontract which embraces the joint requirements.

This has resulted in a collaborative programme which is largely transparent to both Governments, and attracts little of the procurement overheads often associated with Government collaborative programmes. This approach has also had the added benefit of driving down costs and enabled both Governments to obtain more weapons for their money.

Photo Copyright MBDA


SELEX GALILEO - Storm Shadow infrared seeker enhanced to seek hardened and buried targets (high-resolution imagery of scenes and targets achieving pinpoint accuracy).


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